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Press Release

Dobbs Ferry Man Charged With Illegal Possession Of Numerous Firearms And Ammunition, Including “Ghost Guns,” And Discovered Possessing Suspected Explosive Materials And Readily Assembled Explosive Devices

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrest of JAMES NEFF.  The defendant is charged with the possession of a firearm and ammunition after a felony conviction in connection with the discovery by law enforcement of the defendant’s trove of firearms, including multiple personally manufactured firearms, or “ghost guns,” and ammunition.  In addition, members of law enforcement discovered, and continue to investigate, suspected explosives, paraphernalia related to improvised explosive devices, and suspected readily assembled explosive devices.  NEFF was arrested yesterday and presented earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, James Neff, some 23 years after having been convicted on similar state charges for criminal possession of a weapon, has again illegally stockpiled numerous firearms, including what appear to be assault rifles and personally manufactured firearms, or ‘ghost guns,’ a significant amount of ammunition, and suspected materials and paraphernalia consistent with suspected homemade and improvised explosive devices.  Our investigation remains ongoing, and I thank the dedication and expertise of our law enforcement partners and the career prosecutors of this Office who are diligently investigating this case and working tirelessly to keep ‘ghost guns’ and homemade explosives out of our communities.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “James Neff allegedly amassed and stored an alarming collection of suspected explosives, materials for improvised explosive devices, and more than 30 firearms – some of which were assault rifles and unregistered ‘ghost guns.’  There is no reasonable explanation to justify the arsenal law enforcement discovered, and convicted felons with access to such armaments pose an incredible threat to public safety.  The FBI will continue to confiscate weapons from criminals and ensure these devices are not used to inflict harm against our citizens.”

As alleged in the Complaint filed today in White Plains federal court and statements made in court proceedings:[1]

On May 1, 2024, following an investigation, members of law enforcement executed search warrants on the residence of JAMES NEFF and two storage units known to be possessed and rented by him.  After executing these searches, members of law enforcement discovered over 30 firearms, including firearms that appear to be personally manufactured and assault rifle-style firearms; a significant amount of ammunition; and suspected explosives-related materials, including multiple books on how to make homemade or improvised explosives, such as  “The Anarchist Arsenal, Improvised Incendiary and Explosives Techniques,” “How to Bury Your Goods,” and multiple volumes of the “Improvised Munitions Black Book.”  In addition, members of law enforcement also found suspected precursors to explosives, suspected low explosives or smokeless powders, and other items consistent with the preparation of homemade explosive devices, including what appears to be fuse that can be used to initiate a low explosive, cardboard containers with endcaps, a pipe with two endcaps, and grenade bodies, items which could be used to create readily assembled explosive devices.  Photographs taken from the storage unit containing these items are below:

Photograph taken from the storage unit containing firearms and explosive materials
Photograph taken from the storage unit containing firearms and explosive materials

After these searches, NEFF admitted to owning these firearms and suspected explosives chemicals and related materials and to storing them at his house in Dobbs Ferry, New York, before moving them to storage units.

If you have any information about this case, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or

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NEFF, 61, of Dobbs Ferry, New York, is charged with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition after a felony conviction, having previously been convicted on New York state charges of a crime punishable for a term longer than one year, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force and the Westchester County Police Department.  Mr. Williams also thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Greenburgh Drug and Alcohol Task Force; the Dobbs Ferry Police Department; the FBI’s Philadelphia Division; the New York State Police; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin L. Brooke and Margaret N. Vasu are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated May 2, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-161